years covered 1996 – 2001
In 1996 Zsuzsa Polgar beat Xie Jun at Jaen to become the last World Champion to obtain the title in the last classic match played on the terms in effect since 1953.
The next Candidates Tournament in Groningen 1997, was organized concurrent with the first of the FIDE World Championship Knockout tournaments. Alisa Galliamova and Xie Jun finished 1st and 2nd, seeding them into the final match.
The final match in the Women’s Championship was scheduled to be played in Shenyang. After Galliamova refused to play the entire match in China the win was awarded by default to Xie Jun. The title match would be Polgar – Xie Jun.
By the time FIDE announced the date and venue for the title match, Polgar had given birth to her first child. She considered that the time to recover from childbirth and to prepare for the new match was insufficient. She requested that the match be postponed, FIDE refused, and negotiations broke down.
After the contract deadline passed, FIDE declared that the title match would be played between Xie Jun and Alisa Galliamova. The forfeited Candidates match was to be resurrected as a title match! The 1999 match, with a venue split between Kazan and Shenyang, was won by Xie Jun.
A year later, at New Delhi 2000, Xie Jun defended her title by winning the first Women’s Championship played with the knockout format. She beat her compatriot Qin Kanying in the final match of the six rounds event. The Chinese dominance was reconfirmed when Zhu Chen beat Alexandra Kosteniuk in the final match of the Moscow 2001 knockout event.